Save Airbnb in Baltimore: Amend Council Bill 18-1089

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!


Support Baltimore’s short-term rental hosts and the amendments proposed by the Baltimore Hosts Coalition to City Council Bill 18-1089

The 1000+  members of the Coalition were happy to see some changes made to the original legislation, but strongly oppose the new license restrictions on STR that are booked on a "booking platform." 

We support licenses, paying the "hotel tax" and efforts to ensure that all hosts operate safely and as good neighbors. 

We support parity and evening the playing field with the hotels and traditional B&B's.  But this bill puts small businesses and individual property owners at a significant disadvantage by:

1. Restricting the number of licenses hosts can obtain for non home hosted properties to one (1) property per host/location that must be in their own name (not owns as any other legal entity like a partnership or LLC).  This license can never be sold or transferred to another location, person or entity.  So once all current hosts stop renting, THERE WILL BE NO MORE AIRBNB IN BALTIMORE EXCEPT ROOMS IN PEOPLE'S PRIMARY HOME.

These restrictions will not only inhibit future investment in Baltimore City (we have already seen many sale contracts get cancelled as a result of this pending legislation).  But there will be a negative impact on home values as property owners are no longer able to rent as STR and may be forced to sell or short sale their property because they cannot bring in enough income to cover their mortgage at long term rental prices. 

2. Developers, "hotels" operating in apartment buildings and condos will continue renting their multiple (10, 20, 30) units per building unchecked with no restrictions, license or TAX COLLECTION if they do not use a "booking platform" like Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, etc.

This bill does not restrict ALL STR, it simply restricts individual property owners who cannot afford to compete with the corporations who have the funds to advertise their properties without the use of a booking platform.

These out of town developers and corporations will continue renting out multiple furnished rentals for $80, $90 per night without collecting the 9.5% occupancy tax to help their balance sheet until they can fully rent/sell all their units. Read the article that better explains it! 

3. And by keeping the definition of STR as any guest stays for 90 consecutive nights or less (as opposed to 30 consecutive nights as we requested). This not only hurts long term landlords who rent their properties monthly to low income tenants who cannot afford to qualify for a 12 month lease or obtain utilities in their name.  But it will significantly reduces the availability for students, traveling medical professionals like residents, interns, travel nurses and others here for a few months, medical patients undergoing long term treatment at our world renowned medical institutions.

Call to Action: Contact Mayor Catherine Pugh: 
1. Identify yourself as a member of the hosts coalition.
2. The district where you vote or where your property is located (I live/own property in xyz neighborhood and I VOTE)
3. Any neighborhood activity in which you're involved. And if you have the support of your neighborhood association/neighbors/local business. 
4. You would like to see the mayor SUPPORT US by getting this bill amended with our three Amendments:
A. Do not prevent LLC owners from getting STR license (new amendment being added by Councilman Costello to final version of bill)
B. Change the license requirement from 90 consecutive nights to 30 consecutive nights (everyone who rents for 31+ nights would not need the STR license)
C. Equality with hotels, developers, high rise buildings : Apply the license to ALL STR rentals, not just small businesses who use a "booking platform"

And MONDAY NIGHT, DECEMBER 3, 2018 AT 5 PM, IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE FINAL VOTE! Please plan to attend in your orange shirt.  The meeting will be held in Baltimore City Council Chambers!

Background

These hosts and small business owners bring vital tourist dollars to all parts of Baltimore’s economy, its neighborhoods, and its locally owned businesses. Whether renting out a room in their home, a whole home, or multiple homes, each host plays an important role in our city. Baltimore hosts are tax paying citizens who live, work and spend their money and profits here in Baltimore City. We oppose the restrictions on the licenses which restrict investment  in Baltimore. City residents should be afforded the same opportunity to operate and grow their business as any other legitimate business. These short term rental guests visit our neighborhoods to experience our charm, food, drink, services, and goods and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. This bill will decrease the number of visitors (and tourist dollars being spent) in neighborhoods that don't traditionally benefit from visitors at a time when many small businesses in our city are struggling. 

Baltimore Hosts are civic-minded residents who support neighborhood and nonprofit organizations working to improve our city and neighborhoods. These amendments will allow small businesses and homeowners who have invested in our city to continue to operate their businesses and encourage them to re-invest in Baltimore City!  All Baltimore City property owners should be allowed to legally rent all or part of their property as a short term rental in order to pay their bills should their personal or financial circumstances change. We are calling on the city council and the mayor to not pass anti-competitive regulations that inhibits potential buyers from purchasing property in Baltimore City because they fear limits on future use of their property.

History
The Baltimore Hosts Coalition was formed with hosts, guests, neighbors and other locally owned business who benefit from the money brought to Baltimore's neighborhoods by these guests. We currently have approximately 1000 city residents as members!

*The Facebook page for the Coalition

Legislation

This is the 4th year that the City Council has introduced some iteration of the Short Term Rental (STR)/ Airbnb bill. Rather than fight the bill again, we decided to work with the Council to get it amended to a version that allows us to stay in business.  

In September, the City Council Committee reconvened for a work session (though the Coalition and the public were not allowed any input to the amendments nor allowed to speak) and presented the attached amendments to the bill. We were happy to see the nightly cap removed, but very unhappy with the new additions to the bill, including further restrictions on the licenses. 

The City Council Committee gave us 8 days notice for the one and only public hearing. It was scheduled for a Thursday at 11 am when most people were on vacation and at work.  Despite the short notice, date and time, the Coalition had 100 members in attendance and provided more than four hours of verbal testimony, and hundreds of pages of written and electronic testimony calling for the bill to be amended.

 



Today: Baltimore Hosts Coalition is counting on you

Baltimore Hosts Coalition needs your help with “Mayor Catherine Pugh: Support Baltimore's Airbnb Hosts and Support Baltimore Hosts Coalitions Amendments!”. Join Baltimore Hosts Coalition and 1,198 supporters today.